Frequently Asked Questions
We often get asked questions about people with SSA (same sex attractions). Since LifeGuard Ministries exists to minister the grace of Jesus to all impacted by homosexuality, we first and foremost advise that you treat others with grace. So, obviously, including those with SSA! Focus on them as children of God, and let the Holy Spirit deal with behaviors.
Please see the FAQ’s below, and if you have any other questions not addressed here we would love to hear from you! Please use the Contact page on the site, or simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bible and SSA
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Here are the primary passages about it, and our brief comments in italics:
- Genesis 19:4-5 “But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” – In Jude Sodom is mentioned again. What happened at Sodom is clearly meant to be something of a cautionary tale. Jude makes it clear that their ungodliness involved sexual immorality. They were punished for sexual sin, along with the other sins of which they were guilty.
- Leviticus – “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) and “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13) – The surrounding verses in each instance also describe other forms of sexual sin (such as incest, adultery and bestiality). It is moral, rather than just pagan religious behavior that’s in view. Leviticus 20:13 highlights both male parties equally, suggesting general, consensual homosexual activity is prohibited.
- Romans 1:25-27 “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” – Homosexual desire is not what God originally intended. This is not to say that homosexual desire is the only thing that God did not originally intend. All of our desires have been distorted by sin. But Paul does describe both lesbian and male homosexual behavior as “unnatural.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – Again this passage says that homosexuality is wrong, but so also is all sexual sin, worship of idols, adultery, thieves, greedy people, and abusive people, etc. The church has no scriptural basis for singling out homosexual sin as somehow being worse than other sins, yet it is often treated that way in practice. What’s most important about this passage is that its primary intent is to declare a beautiful, victorious statement about the power of the gospel to change lives!
- 1 Timothy 1:10-11 “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.” – In this passage homosexuality is taught as contradicting the wholesome teaching found in the Good News, but so is lying, slavery, promise breaking, and “anything else” that contradicts this teaching. Paul’s secondary point is that the law is given to show us our sinfulness, but states clearly in verse 5 that the primary purpose of his instruction is that all believers would be filled with love. Evangelium, the Good News of the gospel, is where we derive the word evangelical. May God fill evangelicals with love for homosexuals and for all of us who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News.
Attempts to read these texts as anything other than prohibitions of homosexual behavior do not ultimately work. The plain reading of each passage is the right one. It is homosexual practice in general, rather than only certain expressions of it, which is forbidden in Scripture. To attempt to demonstrate otherwise is to violate the passages themselves. Yet these very same texts list homosexuality alongside many other forms of behavior that are also against God’s will. The very passages that show us that homosexual activity is a sin make it very clear that it is not a unique sin. May we encourage one another as we turn away from our sin, and rest in the good news of God’s grace for all of us!
Living with SSA
We regularly get the same sorts of questions from those who have SSA. It’s such a blessing to be able to spend time talking with others who also have SSA, so we encourage you to contact us to join our Friday night group! Questions we discuss:
- Why can’t we just have sex in a committed, monogamous relationship? – The many good things we might see or experience in a permanent, faithful, stable same-sex sexual relationship don’t by themselves make the sexual aspect of the relationship legitimate. At its center is sex outside the faithful marriage of a man and a woman – so, something that God has never declared to be right in his sight. The Bible doesn’t give us a single example of a committed, homosexual union. The good in a same-sex relationship doesn’t and can’t ever make its sexual dimension OK, according to scripture.
- Does LifeGuard Ministries support reparative (also called gay conversion) therapy? – Absolutely not. While all of us (with or without SSA) may benefit from therapy in general, we have observed that reparative therapy leads to shame, and is fraught with risk. We believe that heterosexuality as we encounter it in this world is just as fallen as homosexuality. If a person changes from lustful desire towards people of the same sex to lustful desire towards people of the opposite sex, that is in no sense an improvement. So, attempts to change sexual orientation are a distraction from the real goal, which is sexual purity expressed either in fulfilled marriage or in fulfilled singleness.
- Is it better to be married? – We do not believe that marriage is a preferable outcome to singleness, and indeed in 1 Corinthians 7:32-38, Paul teaches that singleness is in some ways ‘better’ than marriage.
- Why am I gay? – First and foremost, you did nothing wrong! The idea that people choose to have SSA is silly, and, there is no scientific support for a “gay gene”. We believe it is simply because we live in a fallen world, and this reality impacts all of us, with or without SSA.
- Can I really live all my life as a single, celibate person? – In spite of what Hollywood and Madison Avenue constantly glamorizes – yes. Life without sex for a Christian should never involve an unhealthy repression or denial of their sexuality – any attempt to act as if it didn’t exist. It is a God-given gift to be valued and expressed in the ways He’s outlined. That will mean married heterosexual sex for some, and none for others – but both are different ways of appreciating an incredible part of what it is to be human being, created in the image of God.
- Should I come out of the closet? – We prefer to call it being open about our SSA, because “coming out” has other implications. Sharing the reality of your SSA with others is absolutely your personal choice. We will not pressure you either way. Some who participate in our Friday night gatherings have not yet told their family and friends, including their church leadership. Others have, and it works for them. In any case, you are a child of God, and your identity in Him is not defined by your SSA!
The Church and SSA
Nobody likes to be treated like a project! But sadly the church has often over-reacted to those who admit to having SSA. First and foremost, having SSA is NOT a sin. Acting out on these attractions is not something we believe to be biblically OK, but having someone grace the doors of your church who is attracted to others of the same sex is not something you should freak out about.
In his book Love is an Orientation Andrew Marin writes, “One summer evening, I was reading an interview with Billy Graham’s daughter. She was telling some of her fondest memories about her dad and recalled one time in particular, when the Graham family was attending a rally in support of President Bill Clinton after his sex scandal was made public. A reporter asked Billy Graham, “Why are you here supporting this man after everything he has done to this country?”
Reverend Graham’s answer was succinct, powerful and true – “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” That is a healthy posture the church is encouraged to adopt, on how to treat those with SSA.
- Those who are attracted to the same sex just chose to be that way, right? – No! Almost everyone with SSA reports that they had these involuntary attraction to those of the same sex at an early age.
- How should I respond if someone tells me they have SSA? – First and foremost, thank them for trusting you enough to share this fact. For many this is a huge step, for others they may be more open about it but it is still a personal detail about their lives that they are trusting you to know about. Next, shut up and listen! They may be actively wrestling with these feelings, striving to flee from temptation, honor Christ, and walk faithfully with him. They will need encouragement, prayers, and people he or she can talk to from time to time. Just be a friend.
- Is the church homophobic? – Sometimes, yeah. However, love and unconditional acceptance of gay people does not require approval of same-sex sexual activity. Just like everybody else in the church, they should be loved and encouraged right where they’re at.
- What can church leadership do to help those with SSA? – First, own your role as their church leaders. Learn about what it’s like to have SSA, and of course be compassionate towards them. Don’t equivocate about what the Bible teaches on this subject. Seek to minister to them as much as possible from within your church’s ministry, rather than farming them out to a special interest group. However, that is not always possible or successful, which is why LifeGuard exists. And finally, treat those who have SSA but are not acting out on their attractions as heroes of the faith, because that’s who they are.
From Love is an Orientation: “Christians look at a gay or lesbian person and see a potential behavioral change, instead of a person longing to know the same Christ we seek. If we could only release control of what might happen down the road in a LGBT person’s life when Jesus enters, I promise that God loves his children enough to always tell each of them what he feels is best for their life. So then why not start peacefully pointing gays and lesbians in the direction of learning how to have an intimate, real, conversational relationship with the Father and judge, instead of trying to put all of them in 12-step programs? Like all other groups, including straight believers, LGBT people are nothing more than sheep looking for their shepherd.
Will we make a willful, knowledgeable and cognizant decision to live differently regarding the gay and lesbian community, or will we just stay the same? Throughout the entirety of Scripture the Father is calling his sheep to realize this radical way of life. But still few are able to find it – to leave the judging to God, to leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit, and to embrace the orientation of love. To worship with, go to church with, explore difficult questions with, be real with, and be intentionally committed to live life with people who are honestly open to the call of God on their life. To hang out with people when they need someone, to offer patience when people need time and freedom to discover who they are in God. Above all, to praise the Lord for such wonderfully unique opportunities to love. These choices are not about gays and lesbians, they’re about us. To be different with a purpose is closer to the Father’s original intent for his people, and it all starts with just one willful, knowledgeable and cognizant choice.”